It is amusing to think about when you are not actually suffering from a hangover, and those of us who have not been drinking find it hard to be sympathetic to someone in the depths of an “I’ll never drink again” funk.
When you are suffering from a hangover, it seems as though there is nothing you can do but wait until the suffering goes away. The worst part is knowing that the hangover is a self inflicted condition. The only sure way to prevent a hangover is to abstain from drinking.
Used in moderation, alcohol can be an important and fun social lubricant, and there is a growing body of knowledge indicating benefits to occasional, moderate, alcohol use. The key to enjoying these many benefits is to remember moderation.
In the supplement market, we discuss detoxifying regularly. Consider that the polar opposite of detox would be intoxication. The symptoms of hangover are caused by the body’s detoxification organs, mostly the liver and kidneys, eliminating the alcoholic toxins from the body.
The symptoms of hangover can vary between individuals, and even between hangover bouts. Most common are headaches, queasiness or nausea, shakiness, fatigue, extreme thirst and mental fogginess. There is no true “cure” for hangover, it is a metabolic process that needs to be endured until the toxins have been eliminated.
There is a popular myth that the consumption of alcohol while suffering from a hangover will lessen its effects. In fact, the only thing a “hair of the dog” treatment will do is delay the hangover, and it may actually intensify its effects.
Hangover treatment using supplements usually follows one of two approaches; either prevention or dealing with the effects after the drinking session. The first step in either regimen is to increase water consumption. Alcohol is a diuretic, causing increased urination, which can flush vitamins from the body. The detoxification process itself calls for a lot of water, so it is important to stay hydrated through the hangover, and it cannot hurt to take in extra water before drinking.
The hangover prevention protocol usually calls for taking a B Vitamin supplement before the drinking session, followed up by one in the morning. Vitamin B12 is very important to brain function, and may help to eliminate the nervous shakiness sometimes associated with hangover. Interestingly, brewer’s yeast is a particularly rich source of B Vitamins, leading to the supposition that unfiltered microbrews (which still contain live yeast organisms) lead to fewer and less-intense hangovers.
As we previously mentioned, the suffering associated with hangover is part of the body’s detoxification process. Antioxidants should aid in detox. Two of the strongest antioxidants are Vitamins C and E. Vitamin C is known to neutralize the effects of formaldehyde-like byproducts of alcohol consumption, and Vitamin E aids in preventing vascular damage.
A good multivitamin supplement is a good source for these vitamins, but they are also available in a healthy diet. There is added benefit to eating before and during a drinking session. A full stomach will slow the absorption of the alcohol into the blood stream, allowing the body’s detoxification process time to work more efficiently.